(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly locked up staff ace Clayton Kershaw for the next seven years, with ESPN.com stating that the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner agreed to a landmark $215 million extension Wednesday.
The deal would eclipse the seven-year, $180 million contract Justin Verlander signed with the Detroit Tigers prior to last season as the largest given to a pitcher in MLB history, while its $30.7 million annual value would be the most ever for any player.
According to ESPN, the contract includes an opt-out clause after five years.
Kershaw, who was entering his final arbitration-eligible season, captured his second Cy Young honor in three years with a brilliant 2013 campaign. The All- Star left-hander led the majors with a 1.83 earned run average and topped the NL with 232 strikeouts, while posting a 16-9 record over 33 starts for the NL West-champion Dodgers.
The 25-year-old's 2.21 ERA over the past three seasons is also the best in baseball, and he's gone a superb 51-23 over that span while striking out 709 batters in 697 innings.
Kershaw also won the NL Cy Young in 2011 after amassing a 21-5 record and an MLB-best 2.28 ERA over 33 starts. His 248 strikeouts that year trailed only Verlander for the most in the big leagues.
The former first-round pick has also been extremely durable, having logged at least 32 starts and 204 innings in four consecutive seasons.
Recently suspended New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez still owns the largest overall contract in MLB history, a 10-year, $275 million pact he signed in 2007.